MoneySaving Poll: How common are free flight upgrades?
in MoneySaving polls
6 replies 2.4K views
Former_MSE_Liane Former MSE
Poll started 14 July 2014
How common are free flight upgrades?
Are the days of sweet-talking the check-in steward to get a free upgrade to business or first class long gone? Many airlines now sell spare upgrade capacity at the desk. So we want to see how common they are.
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£200 each for premium didn't seem a good deal, but managed to drill them in to buy 1 get 1 free on upper class and also got the ticket we did pay for down from £2000 to £600.
Simply, "Any chance of an upgrade?", said with a smile.
The answer is always either "Unfortunately not Sir, we're not full today", or "Let me see if they are doing upgrades today". If I get the second of those responses chances are I will be upgraded.
You need to know that BA will never ever upgrade unless they have to, ie the cabin is full and they need to shift people up.
In my experience dressing smartly makes no difference whatsoever. However be polite and friendly, without overdoing it, definitely does.
One other tip - if you're a woman check in at a desk manned by a man. My Aunt tells me she has never ever been upgraded by a woman, but often by a guy. It seems to make a difference. Who knows why! For me, as a man it doesn't seem to make any difference whether the check-in person is male or female.
Probably more to do with holding status with BA than anything else (its hard to believe anyone who flies even semi-frequently with BA wouldn't have status).
I suspect the anecdotal data about the sex of the check in agent has more to do with sexual preference than with gender. Flirting works as you've discovered.
That said all this focus on free upgrades is a bit silly as the vast majority of MSEers probably fly infrequently and don't fly with just a single alliance so there's a bit of MSE setting up a false expectation here. It's rare anyone on a low cost ticket will get upgraded as there will almost always be someone ahead of them with a more expensive fare class (even in economy fare classes can vary by hundreds of pounds) or with status with the airline and in all but the most exceptional circumstances they will get offered it first.
The way MSE are presenting it is like Martin advocating buying a lottery ticket is a good investment !!
I too have had upgrades but agree with sjb that it isn't as simplistic as MSE are implying.
MSE Florida wedding .....no problem
one trip they got 'upgraded' to first, but had problems with tv system, ventilation (stuck on full blast), and as not paid for tickets, only got meals when other passengers were served- so had no choice on a very long trip.
Sometimes seen lurking on the compers forum :-)